Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Missions in Philippians

When it comes to world missions, what is the key passage in Philippians? I believe it comes in Philippians 1:18, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.” (For the first post in this series, click here.)

This is a fascinating verse. We see very clearly that Paul’s goal is the proclamation of Christ crucified, regardless of motivation.

When writing this letter, Paul was most likely under some sort of house arrest in Rome. His imprisonment had brought about a wonderful result: other Christians in the Roman church had become more courageous in sharing the gospel. Some people within the imperial guard had even heard the good news of Christ.

In 1:15 Paul writes a verse that seems a bit odd at first, “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.” At this point we might expect Paul to rebuke those who preach “from envy and rivalry.” Instead, the apostle writes verse 18. Paul is simply thrilled that the gospel is being proclaimed in Rome in various ways by various Christians with varying motivations to various unbelievers.

This broad preaching of the gospel brings one emotion from Paul: rejoicing. He mentions this twice for emphasis.

What can we learn from this? The key is that the gospel is proclaimed.

There are undoubtedly many Christians who preach the good news to the lost for various reasons. Different methods are used. Various denominations are involved. Sending agencies abound. The motivations of some are probably even different.

As long as the gospel being proclaimed is the biblical gospel, we must rejoice in this. The good news being proclaimed is indeed good news!

If we follow Paul’s example, then we should not spend our time being upset that others preach the gospel for different reasons than we might. Rather, let us rejoice that the gospel is being heralded in many ways by many different people.

Gospel proclamation supersedes different motivations.

(To read any or all the posts in this series, please click here.)

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